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The Makings of Personhood in a Shelter for People Considered Homeless and Mentally Ill
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This paper is about the pragmatic makings of identity and personhood in a Boston shelter for people considered homeless and mentally ill. Drawing upon the philosophical writings of Amelie Rorty, it examines the ways in which the words and actions of shelter residents and staff effected certain discourses of selfhood and personhood. In the course of their everyday engagements with staff and others, residents took the form of, or were quietly depicted as, variably constituted "characters," "individuals," "figures," "persons," or "selves." Differentials of power were crucial to such dialogic constructions, for many of the residents' presentations of self developed in rhetorical, tactical response to the dominant imageries advanced by others. (Author)
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